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Carpenter Falls Unique Area

Carpenter Falls Unique Area locator map

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The 37-acre Carpenter Falls Unique Area was created for the purposes of recreation and watershed protection. Upper Carpenter Falls is located in the southernmost portion of the property, just off of Appletree Point Road. Lower Carpenter Falls is located in the northernmost portion of the property.

DEC is working to improve public access to Carpenter Falls and reduce long-term environmental impacts to the area. We conducted engineering, archeological, and natural resource studies as the first steps in the planning process. DEC recently removed trees within the project area footprint, in advance of construction. Additionally, trees near the project area footprint recently impacted by the emerald ash borer were removed as a precautionary measure.

Phase 1 of the project will address improved access to the Upper Falls area, with a focus on incorporating accessibility features for people with disabilities. Design considerations include an elevated boardwalk and viewing platform, a bicycle rack, and stone stairs to the base of the Upper Falls. Phase 2, to be completed at future date, will address access to the Lower Falls, including the repair and improvement of an existing foot trail.

The Carpenter Falls Public Access Improvement Project is currently in the bid phase. On March 3, 2021, DEC issued an advertisement for bids that will close on April 7, 2021. DEC anticipates that construction will begin during 2021.

Key features of the final project design include:

  • Improved access for people of all abilities
  • Improved viewing opportunities at the Upper Falls area from an accessible boardwalk and observation platform
  • Enhanced water quality protection including integrated stormwater mitigation

View the temporary Carpenter Falls Unique Area recreation kiosk (PDF).

DEC held a public comment period on the Carpenter Falls Public Access Improvement Project design in August 2019. For more information, please see the files linked below.

Featured Activities



General information on hiking includes how-to, safety tips, and links to rules and regulations.

There is a 0.59-mile trail that runs across the length of the property providing scenic views of Bear Swamp Creek and two sets of waterfalls. The upper falls are located at the southwest end of the trail and the lower falls are located at the northeasterly end of the hiking trail. This trail also connects with the adjacent Bahar Preserve (link leaves DEC website), which is managed by the Finger Lake Land Trust (leaves DEC website), and provides access to an additional 1.6 miles of trails and access to a picturesque waterfall.



General information on snowshoeing includes how-to, safety tips, and links to rules and regulations.

Snowshoeing is permitted on all hiking trails.


General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.


From Skaneateles: Head south on State Route 41A for 11.15 miles and then take a left onto Appletree Point Road. Continue on Appletree Point Road for 0.5 miles and the entrance and parking area is opposite the intersection with Carver Road.

  • Carpenter Falls parking area (5 car capacity) (42.8132858°N, 76.3415527°W) Google Maps (link leaves DEC website)

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety

Practice Leave No Trace Principles (link leaves DEC website) when recreating on state land to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other users.

All users of Carpenter Falls Unique Area must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

How We Manage Carpenter Falls Unique Area

DEC manages these lands in accordance with the management activities described in the Hewitt-Cayuga Highlands Unit Management Plan (UMP). In addition to management objectives, the UMP contains detailed information on natural features, recreational infrastructure, geology, natural and human history, habitats, wildlife, fisheries and much more.

If you have questions and/or comments about this UMP, please email

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Where to Find Nearby Amenities

  • Gas, dining opportunities, lodging, food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Moravia, Skaneateles, and Auburn.

Finger Lakes tourism and Tour Cayuga (link leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

Numerous guidebooks and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores and online booksellers.

Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.

Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (link leaves DEC website) for information on outdoor guides.